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Latest update: Feb. 2014

Econlockhatchee River... Kayaking in Central Florida

The Econlockhatchee River is a tributary of the St. John's River and one of the last unspoiled rivers in Central Florida, putting it at the center of many disputes between developers and environmentalists. The river is home to diverse habitat and wildlife including eagles, sandhill cranes, wading birds, deer, turkey, and alligators. The name means “river of mounds” referring to the numerous Indian mounds along its banks. (Detailed map and photos below)

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Distance: 36 miles, 19 mile state designated paddling trail from the CR 419 bridge to Lake Harney (SR 46 bridge)
Location: Orange and Seminole Counties (Orlando, Oviedo)
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Tidal: No
Launch points: SR 50 (Bithlo); CR 419 bridge, Snow Hill Road (Chuluota/Geneva), SR 46 bridge (See map)
Nearby points of interest: University of Central Florida, Little Big Econ State Forest, Geneva History Museum, St. John's River


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Econlockhatchee River... Comments and Photos

Ideal paddling for either kayak or canoe. Water levels can vary depending on rainfall. The section from SR 50 to CR 419 (15 miles) is more narrow and subject to downfall and many portages. The section from CR 419 to SR 46 (19 mile State Designated Trail) through the Little Big Econ State Forest is wider, with mostly clear sand bottom. Many sand bars offer opportunities to stretch and pcinic. This lower section is almost always open and preferred by outfitters and most paddlers. Camping is available in the forest at designated campsites; the Florida National Scenic Trail crosses the river on a bridge in the forest.

On the St. John's - SR 46 Bridge to Econ River

We launched from the boat ramp at the SR 46 Bridge, shared with motorboats and airboats. We then paddled upstream on the St. John's River about a mile to the juncture of the Econlockhatchee River. Open, no shade. Watch for motor and airboats.

Econ River  - Upstream from St. John's River

We paddled about 3 miles upstream and back. Here the river is wide and flows through prairie with no shade for about 1.5 miles when more trees line the shore. The river remains wide, however, and very little shade in this section.

Snow Hill Road Bridge Launch Upstream to Florida Trail Bridge

On this paddle we went about four miles from the Snow Hill Road Bridge past the Florida Trail bridge. This section of the river was more wooded with some shade.

At the bridge is a phenomenon called the Oviedo Lights - mysterious bluish-green lights that rise out of the swamp and float across the water. Some will say it's just swamp gas, but legend tells that it's the spirit of Christopher Klik who hung himself from the bridge over a lost love!

If you're in the area, drive north about 6 miles to Geneva (est. 1836) and the interesting Museum of Geneva History - a hidden gem.


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